The Universal Guide To Upper Back Pain: Everything You Ever Wanted To Know Straight From The Experts
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Upper back pain can be a little like salsa or Buffalo wingswe know, bear with us.
- First, theres mild: Just a twinge of the tastebuds if were talking sauce, and slight pain thats easy to ignore when it comes to the upper back.
- Then theres medium/moderate: Now were getting somewhere. Youre gonna feel it, but usually only if you take a deep breath or sneeze or move too quickly.
- Finally, weve got spicy: the equivalent to pain so intense you feel the burn from doing the simplest daily tasks, or even nothing at all!
Upper back pain is usually caused by soft tissue injuries, such as sprains or strains, muscle tension caused by poor posture, or looking downward for long time periods. Photo Source:123RF.com. Thing is, upper back pain affects everyone differently. Partly thats because there are so many possible reasons for your upper back pain. The first step in solving your upper back pain problem is understanding why its happening. To do that, start with learning your anatomy.
Symptoms Of Back And Rib Pain
Because upper and middle back pain can have a number of causes, there are also many accompanying symptoms to back and rib pain. Some of the symptoms of back rib pain include:
- Sharp or jabbing pain in the middle back due to a strained or pulled muscle
- Bruising and swelling around the injured area on your back
- Middle back pain that worsens when stretching, coughing, or breathing deeply
- Dull aching discomfort to the left or right of your spine
- Tense back muscles and painful muscle spasms
- Pain that radiates from the back and wraps around the rib cage
Middle Back Pain Treatment In Phoenix Arizona
There are a variety of effective and innovative treatment options for middle back pain. At DISC in Arizona, our first aim is to provide an accurate diagnosis. Because of the various potential causes, we use a proprietary diagnostic technique called Personalized Pain Diagnostics to find the specific pain generator.
Once we understand your unique pain journey, we work with you to develop a personalized treatment approach. As leaders in minimally invasive spine care, we always start with the least invasive option, including non-surgical treatments like:
- Stretches and exercises.
- Pain medication.
- Therapeutic pain injections.
However, if your middle back pain symptoms progress, we may recommend surgical intervention. The spinal care experts at DISC specialize in a wide range of surgical options, including minimally invasive procedures.
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General Causes Of Upper And Middle Back Pain
In many cases, the reasons for experiencing thoracic back pain are connected with your ribs and connecting tissue. However, inflammation of the organs in your upper chest or heart-related pain may feel like rib pain in your upper and middle back.
Dr. William Blahd on WebMD says that some of the general causes of upper and middle back pain include:1
- Overuse injuries from overstretching your back muscles and ligaments
- Injury to your rib cage, intercostal muscles, or ligaments in your thoracic back
- Damage to any of the discs between your spinal vertebrae
- Breakdown of cartilage caused by degenerative bone conditions
- Infections to organs in your upper abdominal and chest areas
When Should I See My Healthcare Provider About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain usually gets better with rest and pain relievers. Back pain that doesnt go away may be a sign of a more serious condition.
See your provider if you have:
- Pain that doesnt get better after about a week of at-home care.
- Tingling, numbness, weakness or pain in your buttocks or legs.
- Severe pain or muscle spasms that interfere with your normal activities.
- Fever, weight loss, bowel or bladder problems or other unexplained symptoms.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Millions of people live with low back pain. Stiffness, pain and limited movement can have a major impact on quality of life. But you may be able to avoid lower back pain by maintaining a healthy weight and staying active. Talk to your provider if back pain doesnt go away or if youre unable to do the activities you enjoy. Several treatments can relieve pain, help you move better and get more out of life.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/18/2021.
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Herniated Or Bulging Discs
Degenerative disc disease in the cervical spine or thoracic spine can irritate or press on your nerves or spine. This can lead to pain between your shoulders.
Other symptoms of a herniated disc include:
- Pain in one or both arms
Sometimes pain caused by disc disease in the neck is positional, meaning it can get better or worse when you flex or extend your neck.
Common Causes Of Chronic Lower Back Pain
“Chronic lower back pain is less likely to be caused by injury to your muscles and ligaments and more likely to be due to issues with the lumbar disks, nerves, joints or vertebrae,” says Dr. Palmer. “There are several potential causes of chronic pain in the lower back.”
In general, osteoarthritis and degenerative disk disease are the underlying cause of many types of chronic lower back pain. However, lower back pain can also be caused by accident-related trauma and acute stress.
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The Real Cause Of Gerd/acid Reflux
The common diagnosis on the cause of GERD and heartburn is too much stomach acid.
But growing evidence reveals this isn’t the case.
Incidences of GERD/acid reflux increase with age while stomach declines.
Think about it…
If acid reflux was really caused by too much stomach acids then teenagers would be popping TUMs like it was going out of fashion. But in reality, we see the opposite happening.
In his excellent book “Why Stomach Acid is Good for You” Dr Jonathan Wright reveals that in over 25 years of testing he found…
“When we carefully test people over age forty whore having heartburn, indigestion and gas, over 90 percent of the time we find inadequate acid production by the stomach. “
Dr Jonathan Wright – mD
Low stomach acid increases the risk of bacterial overgrowth.
What’s more, low stomach acid can lead to carbohydrate malabsorption, mean that carbs are digested properly. The undigested end up in the lower intestine where they ferment causing gas and bloating.
The bloating and gas increases intra-abdominal pressure that becomes the driving force behind GERD and heartburn.
So, GERD is caused by low levels of stomach acid and bacterial overgrowth in the gut.
What Causes Middle Back Pain
Thoracic spine pain is more often caused by serious underlying spinal pathology compared to the causes of lower back or neck pain. However, this symptom can also occur in healthy individuals with no apparent injury or illness. Surprisingly, children and adolescents, primarily females, are more prone to TSP. This could be due to a number of factors, including heavy backpack use, participation in certain sports, chair height at school or strain while doing homework.
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When Going On The Doctor
One should go in the doctor whenever he or she distrust a heart failure or some heart problem. Despite the infarction being a rare cause in the emergencies, when there is suspicion or doubt, the best always is to look for an emergency service for clarification, as this is a very serious illness.
However, should this not be the case, it is recommended to go to the doctor if the pain takes longer than 2 days or if it is accompanied by:
- vomiting with blood
- Pele and yellowish eyes
- Difficulty breathing.
In addition, if you have risk factors like overweight, high cholesterol or high blood pressure should also be consulted with a medical.
What Is Back And Neck Pain
Back pain can range from a mild, dull, annoying ache to persistent, severe, disabling pain. Pain in your back can limit your ability to move. It can interfere with normal functioning and quality of life. Always talk with your healthcare provider if you have persistent pain.
Neck pain occurs in the area of the cervical vertebrae in your neck. Because of its location and range of motion, your neck is often left unprotected and at risk for injury.
Pain in your back or neck area can come on suddenly and intensely. Chronic pain lasts for weeks, months, or even years. The pain can be constant or come and go.
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Am I Likely To Get Back Pain
Several factors can increase your chances of having upper and middle back pain. Among them:
- Age.Back pain starts for most people in their 30s or 40s, and itâs more common the older you get.
- Being out of shape. The stronger the muscles in your back, shoulder, and abdomen, the lower your chance of injury.
- Weight. If you carry extra pounds, you put more strain on your back.
- Underlying conditions. Diseases such as arthritis and cancer can cause back pain.
- Smoking. Smokerâs cough can strain your back. And if you smoke, you may be slower to heal, which can make your back pain last longer.
When Should You See A Doctor For Fibromyalgia
If you are experiencing fibromyalgia symptomswidespread pain, fatigue, memory problems, and emotional problemsthat have lasted more than three months, its time to see a doctor to determine the cause of your symptoms. While there is no medical cure for fibromyalgia, many treatments can ease symptoms and improve your quality of life.
People with fibromyalgia may at first be misdiagnosed with other common conditions, such as arthritis, , depression, or some other type of pain-related condition. If you suspect fibromyalgia, its important to find a doctor with experience diagnosing and treating patients with fibromyalgia.
Although fibromyalgia is not a joint disease, it can cause arthritis-like and fatigue. For this reason, many people see a rheumatologist for diagnosis. A specializes in arthritis, , and pain disorders.
Pain specialists, family medicine doctors, internists, and neurologists can treat people with fibromyalgia too. You can also contact the National Fibromyalgia Association and see if they can suggest someone in your area.
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How Are Back And Neck Pain Diagnosed
Your healthcare provider will ask about your health history and do a physical exam. They may also do X-rays of the affected areas, as well as an MRI. This allows a more complete view. The MRI also makes pictures of soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels. The MRI can help spot infection, tumor, inflammation, or pressure on your nerve. Sometimes a blood test may help diagnose arthritis, a condition that can cause back and neck pain.
Low Back Pain Fact Sheet
If you have had lower back pain, you are not alone. Back pain is one of most common reasons people see a doctor or miss days at work. Even school-age children can have back pain.
Back pain can range in intensity from a dull, constant ache to a sudden, sharp or shooting pain. It can begin suddenly as a result of an accident or by lifting something heavy, or it can develop over time as we age. Getting too little exercise followed by a strenuous workout also can cause back pain.
There are two types of back pain:
- Acute, or short-term back pain lasts a few days to a few weeks. Most low back pain is acute. It tends to resolve on its own within a few days with self-care and there is no residual loss of function. In some cases a few months are required for the symptoms to disappear.
- Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer, even after an initial injury or underlying cause of acute low back pain has been treated. About 20 percent of people affected by acute low back pain develop chronic low back pain with persistent symptoms at one year. Even if pain persists, it does not always mean there is a medically serious underlying cause or one that can be easily identified and treated. In some cases, treatment successfully relieves chronic low back pain, but in other cases pain continues despite medical and surgical treatment.
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Middle Back Pain From Osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting millions of people worldwide. Osteoarthritis or arthritis of the spine is a degenerative disease that breaks down bone near weight-bearing joints and disc cartilage over time. Common symptoms of osteoarthritis include joint pain during or after movement, joint stiffness, loss of flexibility, swelling, and bone spurs. Spine specialists refer to osteoarthritis as a wear and tear disease because it causes deterioration of the connective tissues that hold the joint together and attaches muscle to bone. Women are more likely to develop osteoarthritis. Other risk factors that patients should look out for include age, obesity, joint injuries, genetics, bone deformities, and certain metabolic diseases.
Patients can receive an accurate osteoarthritis diagnosis from a board-certified spine surgeon. Doctors will conduct a physical examination, checking for joint tenderness, swelling, redness, and flexibility. Spine experts can obtain a clearer picture of a patients condition through diagnostic imaging tests such as X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging .
Unfortunately, osteoarthritis is irreversible, but treatments can reduce middle back pain and help patients move without experiencing crippling pain. Patients can manage their middle back pain from osteoarthritis with over-the-counter medications, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and surgical intervention when necessary.
What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
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How Do Doctors Diagnose Fibromyalgia
A patients symptoms and medical history are the basis of a fibromyalgia diagnosis. Previously, a patient had to have a certain number of tender points for a fibromyalgia diagnosis. This is no longer necessary, but healthcare providers may still consider the number of pain points in the diagnosis.
Healthcare providers may diagnose fibromyalgia in patients with the following signs and symptoms:
- Widespread pain in certain areas. There are up to 19 points on the body that may feel tender in a fibromyalgia patient. The neck, shoulders, chest, lower back, thighs, and arms are commonly affected, as well as joints.
- Not feeling refreshed after sleep
- Thinking and memory problems
- Emotional problems including
- Symptoms lasting at least three months
There is no specific test for fibromyalgia, but blood tests and imaging tests can help rule out conditions with symptoms similar to fibromyalgia. Blood tests may include:
- Anti-nuclear antibody test to check for lupus or other autoimmune disorder
- Complete blood count to look for and white or red blood cell abnormalities
- Comprehensive metabolic panel to check levels of electrolytes, calcium, glucose, and proteins, as well as liver and kidney function
- Creatine kinase test to look for conditions that cause or pain
- Red blood cell sedimentation rate to check for inflammation in the body
- Thyroid function test to check for , which can cause symptoms similar to fibromyalgia
Can Lower Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious Like Cancer
Lower back pain can be related to cancer. In fact, it is one of the first symptoms of prostate cancer when it metastasizes and creates lesions. Almost any cancer can spread to the back and some, like sarcoma, can originate in the back. Be cautious, especially if you are experiencing other symptoms besides lower back pain. Talk to your doctor if you have additional symptoms or concerns.
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How Can It Be Prevented
You may use the following tips to counter pain and prevent burning back sensation:
- Maintain a good posture. This means you have to keep a proper posture when you are at work while sitting, during sleeping at night, while driving.
- Set up your workstation properly and minimize positions which might cause undue pressure on the spine.
- Exercise regularly to maintain flexibility, movement, and strength of the muscles of the body.
- Keep an eye on your body weight and eat healthily.
- Quit unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive drinking.
Or you may use Backrack to prevent all forms of back pain
The spinal Backrack is ideal not only for treatment, but also for prevention. With regular use, you can prevent burning-like-pain in the middle of the back. The reason why the Backrack is so effective is because it uses your own body weight to restore the natural space between the vertebrae through exercises that target not only the middle back, but the entire spine.
Because it covers the entire surface of the back, it can be used to treat other spinal disorders that co-occur with your main problem.